LAW5625 - Freedom of speech: Law, theory and policy - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Not offered in 2017


This course covers the law of freedom of expression from a comparative law perspective. Commencing with a discussion of international law on freedom of expression, the course will then move to the emergence and ascendency of the protection of freedom of expression/speech in Europe, under the European Convention on Human Rights, and in the United States, under the First Amendment as well as in other common law jurisdictions. It will also cover significant developments in the permissible limitations on freedom of expression in view of other rights and interests such as property, equality, non-discrimination, public order, national security, privacy and reputation.


On completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Critically examine and evaluate the law and theories of freedom of expression from a comparative law perspective;
  2. Investigate, analyse and synthesise complex information about the law of freedom of expression from international and comparative perspectives;
  3. Conduct research into the policies and theories underpinning the law of freedom of expression; and
  4. Use cognitive, technical and creative skills to apply legal principles to specific problems involving permissible limitations on the right to freedom of expression.


Attendance requirement: students who fail to attend at least 80% of the classes in this unit (ie who miss 3 or more classes) will receive a result of 0 N for the unit. Students who are unable to meet this requirement due to severe illness or other exceptional circumstances must make an application for in-semester special consideration with supporting documentation.

  1. 20 minute class presentation of short paper (1500 words): 10%
  2. Class participation: 10%
  3. Take-home examination (6,000 words): 80%

Workload requirements

Students enrolled in this unit will be provided with 36 contact hours of seminars per semester whether intensive, semi-intensive, or semester-long offering. Students will be expected to do reading set for class, and to undertake additional research and reading applicable to a 6 credit point unit.

Chief examiner(s)